We’re taught the importance of developing healthy habits, such as eating your 5 a day from an early age. However, a recent study has found that only 20% of children eat vegetables every day.
More often than not, this is because children claim to dislike vegetables, meaning they’ll turn up their noses whenever you put them on their plate. However, as a parent, it’s your responsibility to make eating vegetables just as fun as eating fast food.
With that in mind, here are some fun ways to get your children to eat more fruit & vegetables.
Start with a sneak attack.
Sometimes, children will claim to dislike a particular vegetable simply because of the fact that they know it’s a vegetable. While this can be frustrating, you can remedy this by finding ways to ‘sneak’ veg into their usual meals. For example, you could mix chunks of cauliflower with macaroni and cheddar cheese sauce, and your children would think they are eating their regular old mac and cheese – while still getting some of their five-a-day.
Think about the texture.
One of the main reasons why children dislike vegetables is because they do not like the texture. For example, they may feel as though boiled or mashed vegetables are too ‘sloppy’ and will therefore avoid them moving forward. As a result, finding ways to add texture to your veggies, such as by roasting them, is another excellent way to help your children fall in love with vegetable-based dishes.
Don’t forget about seasoning.
Adding different herbs and spices when cooking vegetables is another great way to encourage children to eat more of them, as it brings out natural flavors and makes the entire dish a lot tastier. When introducing new veg to your plates, try to use seasoning and flavors you know your kids love, such as garlic. This way, the dish feels more familiar to them.
Lead by example.
One way in which you can encourage your children to eat more vegetables is by leading by example. After all, if they see that you consistently leave your vegetables on your plate – they’re less inclined to eat them themselves. As such, you should also make a conscious effort to ensure that you’re getting your five a day too. This will also help you to keep your own health in check.
Encourage them to cook alongside you.
Letting your children help when cooking meals is beneficial in more ways than one. Firstly, it can get them more excited about what they are eating, whether that be vegetables or pizza egg rolls. It can also be a great bonding opportunity or a chance to create a more positive home environment for the whole family, as it encourages you to spend more time together.
Furthermore, many studies have found that encouraging children to help in the kitchen can “help build their self-confidence and lay the foundation for healthy eating habits.” On a similar note, you should also let them choose a few recipes each week so they feel as though they have more agency when it comes to both their diet, and fruit and veg consumption.
Leave a Reply